EMPRA – not yet interesting enough…?

I’d like to give a plug for a body created last year by my friend Ruth Sparkes –EMPRA (Education Marketing and Public Relations Association).

Ruth thought it would be useful to have a “national and well-connected professional marketing, PR and Student Services support group” for the Learning and Skills/FE education sector following the Foster Report.  So she set it up herself and has built a really useful resource.

As well as providing up to date news items, EMPRA offers an ezine, events, jobs listings and an opportunity to post stories by registering – which is free of charge.

I notice that there are few members actually creating content – but plenty are reading the various news and blog posts (as evidenced by the story count).  I’m sure Ruth would love to have more input from those who have registered and are clearly interested in what is on offer at EMPRA. 

So how do you encourage lurkers to add comments and generally participate more so creating a more dynamic community?  Do topics need to be more contentious?  Should they seek help from readers by way of questions or other devices? 

What makes you add comments to posts you read?

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Heather Yaxley

Heather Yaxley is passionate about PR - teaching the CIPR qualifications, lecturing part-time at Bournemouth University and running the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA). I'm undertaking a PhD looking at Career Strategies in PR. I love sharing ideas and knowledge - connecting news and views by blogging on public relations and educational developments, especially relating to accelerated and active learning. I'm also a published author, qualified trainer and experienced consultant.

8 thoughts on “EMPRA – not yet interesting enough…?”

  1. Great idea, I will go take a look. I answer posts on here because I know that at the other end is you Heather whose got a whole lot more knowledge than me and will put me right, or agree/disagree as the case maybe. I’m always learning; it’s the thrill of the knowledge I glean and the super prompt responses they are delivered in.

    Plus a bit of altruism too. I want to put something back for all the fabulous things I’ve learned doing my advanced certificate. If I can contribute and encourage others to join then great.

  2. Jill – thank you. I always appreciate your input – as anyone who writes knows, you hope someone is reading and so it is very pleasing to get a response.

  3. Heather, one of panel sessions I really enjoyed at last week’s mesh conference was the one on “Digital Sharecropping – Are You Taking Advantage of Your Users?” I was going to supply a précis of the notes I took regarding contributions by a “community.” In particular, I was going to reference the comments made by Jeff Howe (of Wired magazine fame, author of the oft-reference article on crowdsourcing, plus the soon-to-be-released book on the same topic). But it seems I don’t have to, because Jeff did a great blog post on his mesh panel experience:

    http://crowdsourcing.typepad.com/cs/2007/06/digital_sharecr.html#comments

    Getting people to comment is a challenge. I see the healthy numbersof unique visitors/overall hits/search words, etc. (from multiple countries), that visit PR Conversations, yet only a tiny fraction of our visitors ever leave a comment. Still, Ruth should take heart from the fact that if the stats show healthy numbers, the resource she built is valued…just quietly so.

  4. What makes me leave comments? 3 things:either a new take on the subject being discussed, and so a belief I might add something to the conversation, or,conversely, a complete lack of expertise and thus the hope of learning something, But the third factor is most important: I am more likely to take the trouble to comment if I know the host actively responds to their comment threads.

  5. Thank you Judy – the link is very helpful. I agree that having visitors in itself is great and particularly if they are returning, it is an indication that they like what you do and are getting something from it.

    Ian – welcome and thank you. I’m particularly interested in your 3rd factor as I’ve often wondered how a lot of sites can claim to be social media when they either don’t encourage comments, or as you say, more importantly, respond to them. Personally, I don’t just blog “wise words” (or not) into the ether and leave “the masses” to comment as I feel some bloggers do.

    This is my “home” and as the host, it is vital that I am willing to participate with all visitors – that’s my philosophy. I look forward to conversing with you again.

  6. In a way it’s a shame the success of blogs has to be justified by actual posts. WOM is probabaly still going on by those very lurkers who we want to encourage to post. They probably are active already, only we don’t actualy see it in text.

  7. Absolutely Jill – the only measure of success shouldn’t be judged by posts. Lurkers are great and it is lovely to have visitors, who certainly may be talking about what they’ve read.

  8. Heather, thanks for such a quick response; I’m sorry I couldn’t reciprocate. One of the reasons I commented here a couple of days ago is that I know you to be a responsive blogger – you once chased up an automotive expert for me, back when I wasn’t blogging under my surname, which went way beyond my expectations.

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